It’s been a week of refrigerator issues in twoprops’ world.

First, the interior light of our main ‘fridge went out. It’s a fairly new Whirlpool fridge, purchased in 2017, but this is the second time the interior light has gone out. It’s clearly a design defect. The first time it went out — in 2021 — I called a service company and they quoted me something like $400 to fix it. Whirlpool wanted over $100 just for the part. I found it on eBay for $60, so I bought that and installed it. Of course, it’s a total of about $6.00 worth of LEDs and a bunch of plastic, so I thought about keeping and repairing the old part but I was really busy. What are the chances of the same part failing again? Well, apparently it’s a defective design so I had to buy the part again. The price from the same seller went down to $56, but it’s their last one. This time, I’ll be rebuilding the old part and it will go with us and the fridge to the island.

A day or two later, we got a call from our caretaker on the island. The island house has a Servel propane-powered fridge of indeterminate age (they’ve basically made the same model since the 1950’s). It was having problems staying lit, so I cleaned out the flue last time we were there, defrosted it, and did some minor refurbishment. All seemed to be well, but now it had started making noise and the flame was bifurcated, which made the caretaker nervous. (The house is all wood and 110 years old, so fire is no laughing matter.) The solution in this case was just to get a new, small electric fridge, since the solar panels and batteries we put in should generate more than enough power for the dorm-sized unit.

Just as we were getting that situation wrapped up (not a trivial matter, as you can’t just get Amazon to deliver a fridge out on the mountain where we are), Holly Ann noticed that the food in our (mainland) outdoor freezer wasn’t very frozen. The outdoor fridge was left with the house when we moved in, so it isn’t a big loss except for the food. This had happened once before, though, so we thought we knew what to do, and we made a night run for some dry ice to keep things cozy until we could effect a repair. Even though it’s a modern (post-2007) Samsung side-by-side frost-free refrigerator freezer, this particular model has a history of icing up solidly until it stops running. You have to do some major disassembly and give it a few hours with a hairdryer to defrost it enough that it will start working again. In a masterstroke of design fuckery, the fridge displays its interior temperatures on the door — except that it lies. It said the fridge was 30°F and the freezer was -2°F. Both numbers were abject fantasies (reality was 60° and 36°) and, obviously, way more dangerous than not having displays at all. I took the damn thing apart, but this time, no frost. It’s just… broken. Since we’ll be moving in about 162 days, we’re just going to have to scrape by with a single (large) fridge until then. Crocodile tears. But I do hope that refrigeration issues will take up less of my time in the coming weeks.


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